(Another distraction from the housing situation. Re. which: so far, so good. We've had our final walk-through [although the seller hadn't actually moved out; she is, at least, fully packed]. Closing is scheduled for 10 am tomorrow. We know how big the big pile of money has to be. Luck luck luck luck luck....)
Today I had my day-long new faculty orientation at New State U. By the way, I've decided to call New School "Idyllic State," and the surrounding area will collectively be known as "Idyll." I'll write more about why later.
Anyway, a few observations:
First, I was struck by how many of the upper administrators who spoke to us were women, including many women of color, and several women who referred to having young children. While this doesn't necessarily translate into optimal support for mid-career women with children, or women of color, or women, or anyone else for that matter, it is at least...interesting. May or may not mean a thing. But my first impression of Field was of a bunch of men introducing the women who worked for them (that changed a lot in my eight years there, actually), so this was at least interesting in a potentially positive way.
Second, the theme of the orientation seemed to be this: There are SO MANY RESOURCES available for you! In every possible way! For every possible thing! So much money for you to apply to get! So many people eager to help you do any damn thing you want!
This was a) refreshing, and b) completely overwhelming. I now have so many pages of notes (and so many handouts) that I haven't a clue where to go, or to whom to go, for what, or what I can even ask for. Which is pretty much where I was yesterday.
Clearly, I'm having a bit of culture shock adjusting to a Huge Research University after being at a Teeny College (where people are friendly and will go to extraordinary measures to help you and you basically talk to the same three people for anything you want done, but you also have to do an awful lot yourself and there is no money). I'm wildly impressed with the resources that are available to me, and feel special in a way that I didn't at Field. I feel like a total rube, in a way, completely wide-eyed and grateful for everything that comes my way.
For example: I asked the IT guy if I could get a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina screen and maximum memory capacity for my free computer, and he wrote back to say that he'd ordered me one. Um! A used desktop--which was, I'll note, perfectly adequate--came with my office at Field, but this is quite a different order of service. I actually feel kind of guilty for asking for this much--like they're just taking it on faith that I actually need a fancy computer when I'm just a lowly Humanities prof who can noodle around on an outdated version of Word.